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Please reassure me that it's normal for a 3.5yr old to still be having full on screaming tantrums...

(23 Posts)
Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 08:48:18

I let me 3.5yr old DS play on my iphone this morning for half hour, he knows how to download games but is not allowed to for obvious reasons. I only download free child friendly games/apps.

He asked to download a game which wasn't free and I said no but he did it anyway and then showed me so I have taken away the iphone and explained why.

He is now having a screaming tantrum.

I am trying to ignore, as I have explained a few times why as simply as possible but he can go on and on and on.....

DS2 has been up half the night teething and he has only just cheered up.

What a morning.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 01-Aug-11 08:50:57

Yes it is but having said that I think that letting him play on the iphone for half an hour at this age is too much. Our DS is 7 and only gets half an hour of gaming each day, any more and he gets gaming rage when he comes off. Think you were expecting a bit too much personally.

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 08:57:16

Really JiltedJohnsJulie? I am wondering myself to be honest, I bought the iphone because my friend had one and DS loved having a go on it plus the games are quite educational but I am sort of regretting it now for the tantrums it has caused.

FlamingoBingo Mon 01-Aug-11 08:59:15

Yes, normal if you have a child who gets angry very easily, I'm afraid!

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 01-Aug-11 08:59:40

Educational or not I think the time he spends on it at this age needs limiting and possibly supervising too. Havning said that, I can see why you did it. Its so easy just to leave them with something that keeps them quiet, especially if you've had a bad night.

Tuppenyrice Mon 01-Aug-11 09:02:56

Can you put a Password on it? I let my son use mine and he comes to me asking to download stuff I allow free things & occasional cheap ones but he has to pay me from his money box which I pretend I put in the charity box but actually I use for parking.grin
He has to input my password at the point of download. Check your settings x

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 09:04:47

If I show DS the clock beforehand and explain he has to hand it back when the big hand reaches X he is fine, this was more about downloading a game when I had told him no.

He knows the consequences I had warned him before that if he downloads games he wont be able to play on it.

I suppose it does sound like expecting too much when I write it on here but it basically comes down to 'doing as you're told' doesn't it really? He really is a bright 3yr old- he gets it, he is very strong willed, really struggles to accept no, and tantrums for Britain. He tests boundaries ALOT, and even pre-school say he is extremely willful.

I worry that if I don't be consistent and firm now he is going to still be having tantrums years down the line.

FlamingoBingo Mon 01-Aug-11 09:09:37

What your son is doing is entirely normal. You can't expect a 3.5 year old, however bright, to just roll over and do as you say all the time. Children don't like being told what to do and get cross about it sometimes. We get cross too, but we're experienced enough to know how to behave. Our job is simply to teach them, gently, and with lots of demonstrative love, how to do the same themselves.

Yes, consistent and firm, but no need to be surprised when he gets upset. Just cuddle him and calmly explain why it's not OK for him to download games, and if he does it again, you won't be able to let him play on it. It's not a punishment - it's you ensuring that you don't get skint because of him misusing something that isn't his.

You can't expect him to be happy about it, though - would you be?

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 09:12:13

JiltedJohnsJulie- yes anything to keep them occupied sometimes! Only it backfired really. I will limit it though, you're right.

Tuppenyrice, it is password protected but it has a delay of a minute after you last put password and within that time you don't need to re-enter password (I had just downloaded a new free game). I have even tried to hide the App Store in another folder. He finds it!

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 09:18:11

FlamingoBingo, believe me after 3.5yrs of DS1 I do not expect him to just roll over and do as he is told. Couldn't be any further from the truth. In fact, on the odd times he does do as asked, I am utterly gobsmacked and shocked. And I do praise him at these times.

He is, without a doubt, far more strong willed than any of his friends. And I do understand the tantrums, but it's like a switch turns off in his head when he starts and it is impossible to reason with him although I know he understands.

Just wanted to gauge really whether it's still normal for most children at this age to still be having such raging tantrums?

I love DS1 with all my heart, I think his strong willed personality, though difficult to deal with now, will become a good quality to have when he is older.

FlamingoBingo Mon 01-Aug-11 09:25:13

You can't reason with someone that emotionally fired up. Until he's calmed down, he just needs lots of love. He's probably frightened by his anger, and scared of how powerful it might be. The more cross we get with them when they get angry, the more frightened and panicked they get.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 01-Aug-11 09:46:05

Mobly have you read this book? I've got a bright and wilful DS and a bright and even more wilful DD and first read it at about the same ages as your 2 are now. Think you might like it.

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 09:47:46

I think his tantrums are pure temper at not getting what he wants. He doesn't appear remotely scared. I tend to lean more towards ignoring the shouting/screaming. Sometimes pandering to them can make them worse can't it?

I think I thought more like you FlamingoBingo pre-children. I really liked ideas behind attatchement parenting, unconditional parenting etc, I never let DS1 cry as a baby and I didn't really do much in the way of discipline before 2 but I think by being so soft and not ignoring the tantrums (later on) I have done him no favours.

I do constantly doubt myself however. I also wonder how much of a child's temperament is down to parenting or personality. I always thought personality (you could definitley witness DS1's nature as a baby) but as he gets older I think it's a combination of both and if I don't be firm now his behaviour won't improve.

My mum once told off DS1 and my nephew (6yrs) for jumping on furniture, and being so loud as to wake DS2 after they had been asked not to already, my nephew immediately sat down and looked a little upset, DS1 on the other hand shouted 'Don't shout at me nanny, shouting is rude!'. Although she hadn't shouted just spoken crossly.

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 09:50:03

I haven't read it JiltedJohnsJulie, but it certainly sounds worth a read. As much as anything, it is my lack of confidence in my own decisions that is sometimes the problem.

CaptainNancy Mon 01-Aug-11 09:54:22

My DD is still like this- she woke up the whole family, and all of next door too last night! blush tantrumming at 2:30am is not fun... she's 5.5, I thought she might have grown out of it by now, but 'strong-willed' barely seems to express how she is.

She isn't scared by her anger, but has no idea how to switch it off once it is triggered- it is getting less frequent with age though. I think she is definitely better at controlling her impulses now.

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 09:56:06

CaptainNancy, poor you for last night. Nothing worse than tantrumming during the night, I've had that too.

Really glad your DD seems to be learning to control it a bit as she gets older.

How do you deal with it?

Imnotaslimjim Mon 01-Aug-11 10:00:00

My DS is only just learning the art of tantrums - he's 5.3!! I couldn't believe it when he started having them a couple of weeks ago. I'm hoping its just a stage and he'll get through it quickly as they are pretty spectacular

My DD is 3.3 and started with tantrums before she was 1. And they are still a daily occurence. Flamingobingo is right though, they need you to tell them its ok to lose their temper and that you'll hold things together for them even when they can't. We've found DD calms down quicker if we talk her down. Just living her to scream usually ends with her vomiting cos she gets so wound up

GwendolineMaryLacey Mon 01-Aug-11 10:02:41

How on earth did he learn how to download games? My 3.6yo has been playing with my iPhone since she was about 18 months old, she can work it better than nearly everyone I know ('cept me!) but she has a folder with her games in and she's allowed to look at the photos and take pictures. If she wants to watch a video she asks me to do it, even though she knows how and she is not allowed to touch anything else on the phone. Any transgressions and the phone is taken away and she knows it. She's an independant little bugger but rules is rules. She wouldn't know where to start with downloading.

The simplest thing is not to let him have it when you've been on iTunes or the App store. The password is good for 15 minutes so wait till then before you hand it over.

We do have the temper tantrums though.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 01-Aug-11 10:16:15

Mobly don't be too worried about altering your views on attachment parenting as you go along. We did lots of things that would fit in with the attachment parenting philosophy like not letting them cry, and probably lots of things that didn't. You have to parent your children in a way that suits you and them.

I think you are doing what is right, he know he shouldn't have downloaded the game and you took the iphone from him. The tantrum didn't work as he didn't get the iphone back. Sounds perfectly normal and reasonable to me and with time he will learn that tantrums just don't work.

As for the comments to DG, well there is an age gap in the two children so I wouldn't expect them to react in a similar way. They did need telling not to jump on the furniture and he obviously knows right from wrong as he knows shouting is wrong but perhaps a gentle word was needed about respect for DG?

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 10:20:05

Imnotaslimjim, if your child is sick from upset then I agree they need you to help calm them down. With DS1 it's not like that and in acual fact they stop quicker when ignored, it's more shouting and screaming at me, mostly no tears. I hadn't even noticed this myself but his pre-school teacher said she believes he is not actually upset as there are no tears, it's more 'making a noise' as if to say how dare you not let me have my own way!!

Gwendolinemarylacey, I think he has picked it up from watching me do it. It's quite simple really just to click on Appstore, choose a game and press buy and then install. It is amazing though isn't it? He can't read the instructions but he can figure out how to control a car game when I haven't been able to without reading instructions. Like I said I even hid the Appstore in a random folder and he found it.

We have had the iphone about 6 weeks. It is now definitely limited to one half hour chunk a day and no more. I'm limiting TV too. We are very active but I have always allowed too much TV.

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 10:27:24

JiltedJohnsJulie, he is told when he is being rude to someone and about manners and would have been told at the time. Not disciplined as such but I do try and steer him in the right direction. I will toughen up on that as he gets older, but I'm trying to pick my battles. Primarily, doing as he is asked/told by me/teachers.

Yes, I think I am coming to realise that different approaches work for different children. It's hard though when everyone (friends/family) have an opinion and there is always someone who thinks you are too soft or too strict or just doing it wrong.

LiegeAndLief Mon 01-Aug-11 10:54:03

My ds is nearly 5 and still has the occasional full blown screaming tantrum - looking at his friends I would say this is completely normal. I ignore.

CaptainNancy Mon 01-Aug-11 10:56:21

mobly- we talk her down and cuddle her, as Imnotaslimjim says... ignoring doesn't work tbh with mine! smile
I would say my hearing has been permanently damaged though.

She never ever does it outside home- so I know she can control it if she wants to- it's mainly reserved for me (she is often shamefaced and asks me not to tell her father and checks her tears can't be seen!!! Despite the fact that you can in actuality hear her halfway down the street if the windows are open...hmm)

I think sometimes she has to get a scream out, just to okay things internally- does that make any sense?
She has a really strong sense of what is morally right and wrong and I think it is perceived injustice that mainly sets her off...

We never give in to tantrums though, and she knows this. We are happy for her to argue her case about something, but tantrums will never work. Thankfully we (DH and me, and other family members) are all singing from the same hymnsheet on that one!

Apparently MIL used to have the most awful tantrums until around the age of 8 or so (shock she is so mild mannered, and lovely now though- never even seen her cross in 20 years!) and DH also used to have them over eating vegetables (!) until 7 or so she told me... so maybe it's just something innate, and it will reolve itself soon.
As I say- with maturity, her impulse control is becoming better, but tiredness is her downfall- she cannot control herself much when she's tired, which is fair enough I think- she is still only 5, and pretty young in the scheme of things.

My youngest is 2.6 and never really tantrums (he is pretty scared of her tantrums, so we try to remove her when they occur) - I think personality has a large bearing on it.

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